Vice-Chancellor's work on First World War Nurse and Poet inspires Tower of London’s Armistice commemoration
- Monday, October 29, 2018
The Tower of London will use a poem from a collection edited by Professor Paul O'Prey as the text for the soundscape specially commissioned to mark the end of the First World War.
To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and Armistice Day, the Tower of London will illuminate its moat with an installation of thousands of individual flames to mark the lives of the fallen. The installation, called Beyond the Deepening Shadow will unfold every evening for eight days from 4th to the 11th of November between 5pm and 9pm accompanied by a specially commissioned soundscape, composed by artist and composer Mira Calix, which features a new choral work using words from Mary Borden’s poetic work Sonnets to a Soldier.
Mary Borden, an American author, heiress, women’s rights campaigner and nurse, has only gained recognition for her war writing in the last few years, following the popularity of Poems of Love and War, a collection of her poems edited by Professor Paul O’Prey, which included a number of works published in book-form for the very first time, a hundred years after they were written.
The poem that will be used in the Armistice Day project was written for a young British officer with whom she had an affair whilst running a field hospital during the First World War. Borden lived through two world wars, playing a significant role in both, using her inheritance to fund military field hospitals that she personally oversaw and described in intimate detail in her writings.
Professor O’Prey said ‘it is important to remember those who were not involved in direct combat when considering the canon of First World War poetry, and the impact that the war had on those men and women who went to the Front to help save life rather than to take it. Mary Borden is a remarkable figure whose work is full of compassion and humanity- she is the outstanding female voice of the First World War’.